A mother and her four children who died in a suspected arson attack on a house have been named locally.

Sabah Usmani and her sons Sohaib, 13, and Rayyan, six, as well as 11-year-old daughter Hira, died in their end-of-terrace house in Barn Mead, Harlow, Essex, at about 1am.

A third son, Muneeb, nine, and daughter Maheen, three, were rescued by fire crews and taken to hospital in a critical condition, although one later died at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. A fifth remains in a critical condition.

A man - thought to be the children's father - has been treated for minor injuries.

Neighbours raised the alarm after being woken in the early hours. They reported seeing flames and smoke billowing from the house.

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson said: "This is still the early stages of our investigation into the tragic deaths of five members of one family - a mother and four of her young children. At this time we are investigating to see whether this fire was started deliberately and need anyone with information to contact us."

The force confirmed that a car was also found alight a short distance from the house. The vehicle was not connected to the family but the fire is also being treated as arson.

The house will be forensically examined to find out how the blaze started.

Firefighters called to the scene described the house as being "100% well alight", with flames coming from the front and back doors.

When they arrived, the man was stood outside the property, although it is thought he was inside the house when the blaze took hold.